Molly Gase Wedding Photo
>> Each year, the readers of akronlife send in their picks for the absolute best things, places, people and services in the city. This master list of fan-favorites is inspired by moments that happen in their daily lives. Memories are built on these small everyday moments. Some of them are nothing more than a happy snapshot of a life, while others build up to something meaningful—something that makes you smile every time you think about it.
While we were working on the 2015 “Best of the City” list, I couldn’t help but smiling about a few of them. Like the many readers who sent in their favorite places, a lot of the places listed on our “Best of the City” list are the sources of some very happy memories in my life. When combined, the places listed map out a chapter in my life that has brought me so much joy. The story of how I met a great guy named Andrew, who —spoiler alert— I married, is built around the places and things on this list.
In those early days of our relationship, we grabbed Galley Boys and milkshakes at Swenson’s, in the middle of the winter (because let’s face it, they are too good to only enjoy when it’s warm). We climbed across fallen trees and lazily walked the trails at the Gorge Metro Park. We strapped on ice skates and glided around the rink at Lock 3. We rocked out to The Black Keys on raining spring days, while applying for graduate school programs and real world jobs. We gazed at the beautiful works of art at Don Drumm’s Studios and made a wish list of what we would someday feature in our home.
It may seem cliché to say that meeting my husband is one of the best things to happen to me, and it’s definitely a little old-fashioned, but it is still true. In him I have a confidant, a steadfast friend and my match. It is strange to think back to a time when we weren’t together, however when we first met he really wanted nothing to do with me.
I first came to Akron as a student. Originally from the other side of the state, I wanted to try a new place where no one knew me, but where I could easily get home within a few hours. The University of Akron was a great change from the small farming town I had always lived in. To me, it was—and still is—a metropolis full of possibility. I was determined to figure out who I was outside of who my parents were, a journey that is still in progress. Though I am no longer anywhere near the path I started on when I first came to Akron, it has woven its way to where I am now.
I met Andrew halfway through my college career and I think he sincerely disliked me. Not unjustly so, since I had accidently taken his job at our campus newspaper. He had aspired to be a journalist and I had wanted a future in classical ballet. When a series of stress fractures and bad luck removed me from that path, I hobbled onto a new path as a journalist. My best friend had been working at the campus paper and helped me in the door—literally, I was usually on crutches or in a compression boot. But once through that heavy door, I found that I really enjoyed the newspaper.
I was so excited about the product that we were producing, that I would often arrive to my classes early to pass out papers. This innocent gesture always earned me a glare from one mysterious guy in the back of one of my classes. I didn’t know who he was, so I always made sure to offer him two papers. He consistently declined. After an awkward amount of time, my friend finally told me that he was the guy that I had replaced at the paper. Oops. I stopped bothering him after that.
This glaring guy and I kept bumping into each other. In line for much beloved and much needed coffee, stuck in tiny classrooms, and finally, stuck in a car together on our way to a writing conference. He stopped just being the guy that glared at me from the back of the room, he became the Andrew that I married. We helped each other towards graduation and towards the future. He sat up with me as I finalized my entrance essay for graduate school, held my hand while I waited for my acceptance letter, and proudly wore a Syracuse shirt on my first day. We switched places when we met and, so far, it has only been for the better.
For us, this city became an empty page where we could write the beginnings of our story. It certainly isn’t Nicholas Sparks material, but it is our real life story. While I was trying to find myself in the rubber city, I accidently found him. Meeting Andrew and then falling for him, brought about some of the best of times for me. Times so good, that they eclipse the bad ones. This year’s “Best of the City” list is full of things that spark wonderful moments, creating memories that build onto our stories. We hope that you keep having amazing moments in The 330 and continue to share them with us.
Molly Gase, Managing Editor